Did JK Rowling rip off Harry Potter from Star Wars?

My uncle yesterday was wearing a Star Wars shirt. I like to tease him so I said Harry Potter is a better movie than Star Wars.

He said, "Really? Because Harry Potter is just a retelling of Star Wars."

I said No way. Then he pointed out that

1. Both stories are about a Chosen One, predestined to restore harmony in the universe.

2. The Chosen One was orphaned as a baby.

3. The Chosen One was raised by an aunt and an uncle.

4. Though the aunt and uncle know his true potential, they keep it from him.

5. He only learns about his true potential as a teenager.

6. He teams up with a male and female companion to begin an epic journey.

7. He is taken under the wing of an elderly bearded sage who begins to teach him his true potential.

8. The forces of evil are personified in one super evil villain.

9. He and his companions must do battle against this villain without the assistance of the sage.

10. Although it seems the Chosen One and his companions have made a decisive victory, the super evil villain narrowly escapes and a never ending franchise is set up.

When he points it out like that it seems that Rowling ripped off Star Wars to make Harry Potter and that has me kind of sad.

20 Answers

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  • 6 months ago
    Favorite Answer

    Many stories follow the same format, and no, JK Rowling didn't rip it off. Technically you can say The Lion King also follows that format.

    • Tina
      Lv 7
      6 months agoReport

      'The Lion King' is a bestial version of 'Hamlet.'

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  • 6 months ago

    The Greek Pantheon: "PLEASE."

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  • 6 months ago

    The name Harry Potter was used in Troll the movie from the 80s it was Noah Hathaways character.

    • bluebellbkk
      Lv 7
      6 months agoReport

      Harry Potter is like John Smith or John Doe. It is very, very ordinary.

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  • Marli
    Lv 7
    6 months ago

    I've just read "God, the Devil and Harry Potter" by John Killinger (I found it in response to another question nearby about God in fantasy fiction) Mr. Killinger argues that Harry and his magical world relate to the fight against evil - Harry being a "Christ- or Saviour- figure" and Professor Dumbledore related to God the Father and to Mentors in mythology. Voldemort is the Devil, of course.

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  • chorle
    Lv 7
    6 months ago

    I think the question has some humor because of Star Wars is pretty heavily influenced by other works. Amy H Sturgis does lectures on it

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  • 6 months ago

    Star Wars wasn't an original piece of work in the first place - there's very little that is new under the sun these days.

    Everything is going to borrow from or resemble something else. The Harry Potter series is no exception.

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  • 6 months ago

    The original Star Wars was taken from the Japanese movie "Hidden Fortress". Everyone borrows from somebody in the movie business.

    • River Euphrates
      Lv 7
      6 months agoReport

      You do realize HP was a book before it was a movie, right?

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  • 6 months ago

    J K Rowling did what authors have done for millennia: she told a story using traditional themes that have been around for ever.

    Please don't tell me that it's a 'rip-off' every time someone writes a story about a boy and girl who meet, dislike each other, then gradually fall in love.

    Please don't tell me it's a 'rip-off' every time someone writes a story about a character discovering they have a special gift or purpose.

    You simply haven't READ nearly enough. Read more, and you'll see that ALL the themes you mentioned turn up over and over again, in endless combinations.

    One answer mentioned 'The Worst Witch' and got all agitated because other books also have young magicians taking potions lessons,and learning how to become invisible and how to fly.

    Well OF COURSE they did: what ELSE would they study at a school for magicians? And it would be a big mistake to imagine that 'The Worst Witch' was the first such story.

    As I said: you need to read more, a lot more, no really a LOT more.

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  • 6 months ago

    No, like Andrew says, both Harry Potter and Luke Skywalker are the "Chosen One" and "The Chosen One" stories have been around forever.

    One older famous tale is the story of King Arthur: After he's born, the wizard Merlin 'sees' that he will one day become the High King of England. Baby Arthur, being an illegitimate child, is sent off to be raised by another family. As a boy he, as the only one, is able to pull Excalibur from the stone, proclaiming him the Chosen One etc.

    Frodo Baggins lost his parents when he was a child and was raised by relatives, he becomes the Chosen One when he accepts to carry The One Ring to Mount Doom and destroy it (and notice how is is only Frodo who can carry the ring).

    Garion's (from the Belgariad) parents are murdered when he's very young and he's rescued by the wizard Belgarath and raised by the sorceress Polgara in a completely normal farm house environment, not knowing that he is the Chosen One, destined to save the world. (and following in that vein you have Will Ohmsford, Rand al'Thor and a score of others)

    Of the newer stories, you have Eleven from Stranger Things and Diana Bishop from a Discovery of Witches.

    So my guess is that J.K. Rowling was merely following one of the traditional story lines, just like George Lucas did, they were far from the first and far from the last.

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  • Andrew
    Lv 7
    6 months ago

    People gave been drawing comparisons between the two for over 20 years. It's been said that there are only 7 basic plots, some even go so far as to argue that there are only 4, or possibly even 2, so it's not as though it's all that difficult to find two stories that bear some resemblance to one another.

    The concept of "the chosen one" is quite popular in fiction and always has been. There are examples dating back to some of the most ancient stories that we have available to us, so that's not particularly noteworthy.

    Main characters are often orphaned as infants. It adds to the sense of detachment, alienation and isolation that the author is looking to capture, and it helps to set the stage for the character's journey to discover his or her real place in the world. Not to mention that it enables the character to form bonds with other characters because there's no loving family to fill that role. A very widespread narrative device.

    Being raised by an aunt or uncle is simply a matter of convenience. What would happen to most children if they were orphaned? If they had living family members, they'd likely be placed with them rather than placed into a state run facility. In most instances, grandparents are too old to look after a baby, so it would make sense for the child to be sent to live with an aunt and/or uncle. Again, these aren't especially remarkable coincidences.

    Harry Potter knew what he was about before becoming a teenager. Perhaps he didn't know just how special he was, but he definitely had an idea. And to leave the big reveal about the hero's powers or prowess until he or she is a teenager makes sense. Young children don't possess the bare minimum amount of life experience required to attain any degree of wisdom, but teenagers are one small leap away from becoming adults. And adults are expected to make their own decisions and to choose their own path. It also enables an author to balance between catering to younger kids, who likely look up to teenagers, and to adults as well, who have been teenagers themselves and can thus relate. Kids make for boring heroes and main characters because they lack autonomy and they need to be coddled too much to make a plot built around them interesting.

    To be fair, both Harry Potter and Luke Skywalker had more than 2 friends.

    In the absence of a father figure, someone needs to fill that role. If we're expected to experience the development of the character over time, we need to see the source from which the character derives his or her sense of morality and purpose. If you can think of a better way to do that than to give the person a mentor, your story might be considered to be less derivative. Unfortunately, because we learn the things we know from older, wiser people, inserting a sage and moral, honorable and witty teacher into the mix sure does work.

    Both stories feature a number of villains, and if you're referring to Darth Vader as being the primary antagonist in 'Star Wars', remember that he is but a servant of the Emperor. That's who most viewers would classify as the ultimate villain in 'Star Wars.'

    If the hero never had to take what he or she had learnt and put it into practice without the guidance of the teacher, how would we ever be able to see whether or not the training was effective? How would we ever know whether or not the person really had what it takes to deliver the goods? It wouldn't make much sense to craft a hero that is never afforded the opportunity to shine outside of the shadow of his or her mentor. The teacher has to be removed from the equation at some point. Why not do it with a bit of dramatic effect?

    I think you might have lost the plot on this one. I won't pretend to be a "Harry Potter" scholar of the first order, but from my experience with the series, the ending is definitive. And although it's been a few years, I'm fairly certain that I can recall the major events in 'Star Wars", and both Darth Vader and the Emperor are dead at the end of the story. They have obviously conjured up a new villain for the sequels, but nobody classifies those as canon anyway, they're a blatant cash grab and total and complete irredeemable rubbish through and through.

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